Training

Lionel Beyeke's Legendary Leg Workout

Build quads, hams, and glutes of historical proportions with this extreme-intensity workout.

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 No. 1: BARBELL SQUAT 

Sets & Reps: 8 sets; 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 10 reps

INSTRUCTIONS: The squat is listed as your first exercise, but trust us—you’ll want to warm up first, at least with 10 minutes of walking and light jogging on a treadmill. From there, consider a set or two of light leg extensions. Your squat sets of 20 and 15 should be warm-ups as well before climbing into your working weights, going up to your six-rep max by the sixth set, then pyramiding downward for the final two.

The goal? Perfect form as you move as much weight as you can safely handle. This is the exercise that has built champions like no other, so you’ll want to take it seriously and never waste a rep.

START: Stand upright in a power rack or squat rack, holding a bar across your upper back with your feet about shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and your toes turned out a touch.

ACTION: Keeping your head neutral and core tight, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body, as if you were sitting down in a chair. Go as deep as possible into the “hole”—past a 90-degree angle in your knees if you can—then powerfully drive yourself back up to a standing position, pressing through your heels as you extend your hips and knees.

TAKE IT TO THE EDGE: Remember Platz’s insane strip set? While you may not want to replicate it exactly—if you want to be able to walk sometime in the next week, that is—you can still borrow the concept. With a partner on hand, you’ll combine the last three sets into one mega multi-drop set, doing the heaviest weight to near failure, racking it just long enough for your partner to take a plate from each side, then continuing to near-failure again. Rack it one more time at that point to lose one more plate per side and rep until you simply can’t. Now, lie there and try not to lose your lunch.

 No. 2: HACK SQUAT 

Sets & Reps: 5 sets; 8–12 reps

INSTRUCTIONS: You’ll be wiped after squats, especially if you follow in the footsteps of madness and do the Platz-inspired strip sets. So don’t sweat it if the weights you can handle as you pyramid up from set to set of hacks are lighter than you’re used to. As long as you’re striving for failure between eight and 12 reps and squatting down as deep as you can on each rep, you’ll be squeezing maximum benefit from this exercise.

START: Step inside a hack squat machine, settling your shoulders and back against the pads. Place your feet narrow and low on the platform, keeping your feet fat throughout the exercise. Maintain good posture, with your chest up and abs pulled in tight.

ACTION: Unhook the safety bars, and slowly lower yourself by bending your knees, stopping when your thighs are well beyond parallel, without letting your heels lose contact with the platform. Pause there to dissipate the energy derived from your muscles’ stretch-shortening cycle, then forcefully press yourself upward, stopping before knee lockout at the top.

TAKE IT TO THE EDGE: Hacks are brutal enough without an intensity booster, but if you’re feeling sadistic, try to hold the final rep of each set at the midpoint for as long as possible in an isometric contraction.

 

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